Is Wisconsin’s Nudist Beach In Jeopardy?

nudist Apparently, gourmet cheese, good beer and the Green Bay Packers aren’t the only things attracting visitors to Wisconsin. In fact, the state boasts one of the country’s largest non-coastal nudist beaches, Mazo Beach, which brings in about 70,000 naturists per year. Unfortunately, the hot spot is currently facing opposition from protesters, politicians and conservative locals.

Recently, numerous arrests have been made in the surrounding forests, as officers have caught people having sex outdoors. Additionally, problems with sex and drugs on the beach are also causing outrage. Well-behaved frequenters of Mazo Beach now fear the end of their clothing-optional haven, despite years of cooperating with the state.

Although it is illegal in Wisconsin to “publicly and indecently” expose one’s genitals, many state and county officials have argued simply being nude at Mazo Beach is not enough to write a citation. That is, unless there is some kind of lewd contact. Despite pastor-led protests and Republican lawmakers attempting to ban the beach, it has remained.

To help get Mazo Beach out of its current position, the area has added extra security to patrol the beach. Losing the nudist-friendly site would be devastating to many who think of it as a second home.

For Claudette Richards, 58, a lifetime visitor to Mazo Beach, it is the place where she was able to come to accept her body, even after her mastectomy. She says, “It’s a place to be who I am.”

[Image via Big Stock]

Milwaukee Art Museum opens major exhibition on Impressionism

Milwaukee Art Museum
An exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum is looking at Impressionism in a new light.

Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper is the first major exhibition to explore the drawings of famous Impressionists. Previous exhibitions have always focused on their paintings, such as Renoir’s Bathers with Crab, which is also part of the show and appears here in this photo courtesy Moira Burke.

The famous Impressionist exhibitions in Paris between 1874 and 1886 changed European art. Not only was the style vastly different than traditional painting, but the Impressionists emphasized drawing as a medium equal to that of painting. The exhibit gathers together more than 100 drawings, watercolors, and pastels by important artists such as Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of Wisconsin’s great attractions, besides all the wonderful hiking, camping, and fishing. In addition to offering major shows such as this one, it boasts a collection of more than 25,000 works of art from a variety of different movements, from German Expressionism to Haitian folk art.

Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper runs from October 14, 2011 to January 8, 2012.

Photos from the Oshkosh Airventure

Festivities from the 2011 Oshkosh AirVenture are just wrapping up as we type, and as our photos come back from the dark room we’re sending them straight out to print.

As far as air shows go, one can do no better than the Oshkosh AirVenture in Wisconsin. Your typical small town air show this is not. Sure, they’ve got the warbirds and the experimental planes and the helicopters and the commercial jets — in sheer volume of hardware here there is no doubt.

Oshkosh goes well beyond the lifeless shell of steel and rivets though — this show is more about community than anything else. It’s immediately apparent as you walk down the runway where the primary show takes place. On the left side you’ll see cycles of aircraft flying in formation, in loops, around in spirals and performing for the audience.

And on the right? Legions of personal aircraft surrounded by campsites. Thousands of them. Some visitors sleep in their aircraft, others right under the wings. Scores of people make the trip up to Oskhosh each year to nestle back into the community, talk shop and catch up with old friends. It’s the annual reunion of airplane nerds.

Add to that mix a strong commercial component of airframe, technology and culture displays and you’ve got the biggest aircraft event in North America, a virtual playground for any aviation enthusiast. Take a look at the pictures from Gadling labs courtesy Erin Drewitz below.

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Five ways holiday travelers annoy business travelers

holiday travelers and business travelersOn December 23, 1999, I was trying to get from Madison, Wisconsin to Boston Massachusetts. On paper, it didn’t look hard. I had to catch a short fight from Madison to Chicago and another flight from Chicago to Boston. Unsurprisingly, it was snowing in Madison. It was also snowing in Chicago. Flights were canceled quickly and routinely, and crowds backed up in the gate areas. I was starting to wonder if I would make it home in time for Christmas. I finally made it back some time on Christmas Eve, but it was stressful … and yet another taxing holiday experience in what had become a blur of them.

Holiday season travel is rarely enjoyable for anyone, but it can be particularly brutal on business travelers. The pressures of family holiday obligations converge with business demands, and it all comes on the back of a full year of hitting the road, which can mean 40 weeks or more of round trips and enough miles to have nailed platinum status by the end of the second quarter. The one thing business travelers cling to is efficiency. Even if it doesn’t buy much in real impact, it feels better to get through security faster, board the plane smoothly and make a quick exit from the plane and airport upon arrival.

And holiday leisure travelers just make that exponentially more difficult.The folks who travel once or twice a year – or even less frequently than that – tend to throw a monkey wrench into the finely honed travel operations of road warriors. They fumble for documents at airport security checkpoints, take forever to order something as simple as a slice of pizza (how do you choose from both those toppings?!) After a while, the white-collar traveler, perpetually exhausted anyway, begin to hatch conspiracy theories about how leisure travelers are all in cahoots, intent on making his life miserable when all he wants to do is get home and rack open a bottle of holiday cheer.

So, let’s take a look at five ways you can annoy business travelers this holiday season. I’m not suggesting that anyone on either side of this dynamic engage in any behavior modification … because we all know that isn’t going to happen. But if you decide to try – to annoy either less or more – this is how you can go about it:

1. Your kids: I know this is a tough one. If the end-to-end air travel process is difficult for adults on a good day it’s even harder (a) during the holidays, (b) for adults with children and (c) for children. It really does suck. Do what you can, and make an honest effort. Don’t let your kid “cry it out” or practice his first step. You can give up on good parenting for a few hours without causing any lasting damage. Please try to avoid saying, “It’s only for a few hours; we don’t travel often,” to a weary business traveler.

2. Your awareness: is the airport security line moving forward without you? Do you wait until you’re at the x-ray machine to realize you need to remove your coat and shoes? You could turn around to see the eyes rolling, but that would just consume even more time. This also goes for your trip to the food court. Be ready ahead of time, or expect someone to say something.

3. Spread out: take extra seats in the gate area – for your bags or anything else. And then, let your kids play on the floor between seats, so nobody can walk by. The gate area is crowded already, and this is just a heroic way to make a bad situation worse.

4. Camp near a power outlet: it’s hard enough to find a place to plug in, and business travelers are desperate for the short supply. So, be sure to take up this prime real estate … even though you don’t plan to use it at all.

5. Sense of entitlement: assume the same sense of entitlement that road warriors have. And, I’m actually encouraging this one. Nobody really has a right to feel this way, but it is a formula for some incredible street theater!

[photo by

New Wisconsin hotel smoking ban: big fines, no choice

Wisconsin has just cracked down on smokers from out of state. It’s only the second state with a smoking ban that applies to every hotel room in the state. This differs from most smoking bans, like the one in Kansas, in which the properties can allow smoking in a certain percentage of guestrooms. Michigan is the only other state with a hotel smoking ban this severe.

The hotel business in Wisconsin wasn’t thrilled about the legislation and did push against it. The greatest challenge, however, seems to be convincing the guests that it’s not a scam – that the ban is actually the law. It’s a lesson worth learning, for guests, because the consequences are severe. Notes USA Today:

Wisconsin’s roughly 2,000 hotels post signs declaring their building a non-smoking facility. They’re also requiring guests to initial a statement promising to comply or face paying a fee. Hotels are charging penalty fees anywhere from $100 to $300, she said.

[photo by ell brown via Flickr]